My first cell phone was a Motorola bag phone that had the heft and design features of a brick. It was 1995 and I made three calls for the year while receiving none. I didn’t memorize the number and I certainly didn’t give it out. The last thing I wanted was to have someone call me when I was recruiting or fly-fishing.
I thought about that last week as our family considered the options available today, particularly smart phones like the iPhone and the Droid. Anne and I had deliberately not upgraded our phones in three years so that when our daughter’s two-year contract was in synch with ours, we could consider other cell phone plans, in particular ATT, which has a monopoly on the iPhone.
I have had several people tell me, with a countenance not unlike lighting a cigarette following sex, that they believe the iPhone is mankind’s greatest invention. Now to be sure none of these people lived during a plague, polio outbreak, or had personal family members consumed by the Donner party, but even so, their enthusiasm seemed to make their lack of perspective almost endearing.
When I ask them why they believe an iPhone is a more significant achievement than a Porsche Speedster or a Mizuno seven iron, two inventions that I am particularly fond of, they respond the iPhone is important because of its versatility. The iPhone already has a hundred and forty thousand applications.
Beyond (yawn) GPS, calendar, camera and recording features are cleaver options I never would have thought of, at least after eighth grade. There is an iFart application. There is a dog whistle and an application you can click to hear your favorite Star Wars character say a signature phrase. Before you finish reading this someone will have created an application that sounds like Spock farting while dog whistling at the same time.
There are dating applications for cross dressers searching for transvestite crane operators. There are applications that can translate your dog’s barking into Portuguese. Want to make a hamster casserole? i-Rodent-for-lunch has you covered. Should you be bitten by a black mamba there is an application that tells you the five most important things to do. Number 5. is to bend over and put your head between your legs and kiss your sweet ass goodbye, but only after naming who will inherit your iPhone in the i-Am-about-to-die application.
So how much would it cost to be able get a phone that can reserve a table for four at the L’Esguard restaurant in Sant Andreu de Llavaneres, Spain, where what one iPhone blogger had what she called the “worst meal in memory.”
I could trade in my customized Sprint Samsung with duct tape holding in the battery (I call it my Samsung Urban Model) for an entry-level iPhone for $200 plus an extra $15 a month for a data plan that would allow me to become more self absorbed and introverted, especially in public spaces or across the breakfast table. For the three of us (i-Abacus please) the total would be $600 plus $45 a month for the life of the plan plus a one-time upgrade of twenty-five dollars, and the slight inconvenience of not being able to call anyone in a major American city between four in the morning and eleven o’clock at night because the call is likely to be dropped because so many iPhone users are using the I-Stand-by-me application which offers opinions on whether or not Goofy is a dog or who would win in a battle between a gorilla and a python.
Which raises an interesting question? Could a python digest a Motorola bag phone? Unfortunately I don’t know the answer because there is only one place that might offer an opinion, and unfortunately I decided on a more modest upgrade to an LG Remarq which only cost me fifty bucks, if you count the hundred dollar rebate which should show up before the next comet named after a female president lights up the evening sky.